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J Anim Sci. 2005 Aug;83(8):1875-81.

Effect of dexamethasone, feeding time, and insulin infusion on leptin concentrations in stallions.

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  • 1Department of Animal Sciences, Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, 70803, USA.


Three experiments tested the hypotheses that daily cortisol rhythm, feeding time, and/or insulin infusion affect(s) leptin secretion in stallions. Ten mature stallions received ad libitum hay and water and were fed a grain concentrate once daily at 0700. In Exp. 1, stallions received either a single injection of dexamethasone (125 microg/kg BW i.m.; n = 5) or vehicle (controls; n = 5) at 0700 on d -1. Starting 24 h later, blood samples were collected every 2 h for 36 h via jugular venipuncture. Cortisol in control stallions varied (P < 0.01) with time, with a morning peak and evening nadir; dexamethasone suppressed (P < 0.01) cortisol concentrations. Leptin and insulin were greater (P < 0.01) in the treated stallions, as was the insulin response to feeding (P < 0.01). Leptin in control stallions varied (P < 0.01) in a diurnal pattern, peaking approximately 10 h after onset of eating. This pattern of leptin secretion was similar, although of greater magnitude (P < 0.01), in treated stallions. In Exp. 2, five stallions were fed the concentrate portion of their diet daily at 0700 and five were switched to feeding at 1900. After 14 d on these regimens, blood samples were collected every 4 h for 48 h and then twice daily for 5 d. Cortisol varied diurnally (P = 0.02) and was not altered (P = 0.21) by feeding time. Insulin and leptin increased (P < 0.01) after feeding, and the peaks in insulin and leptin were shifted 12 h by feeding at 1900. In Exp. 3, six stallions were used in two 3 x 3 Latin square experiments. Treatments were 1) normal daily meal at 0700; 2) no feed for 24 h; and 3) no feed and a bolus injection of insulin (0.4 mIU/kg BW i.v.) followed by infusion of insulin (1.2 BW(-1).min(-1)) for 180 min, which was gradually decreased to 0 by 240 min; sufficient glucose was infused to maintain euglycemia. Plasma insulin increased (P < 0.01) in stallions when they were meal-fed (to approximately 150 microIU/mL) or infused with insulin and glucose (to approximately 75 microIU/mL), but insulin remained low (10 microIU/mL or less) when they were not fed. The increases in insulin were paralleled by gradual increases (P < 0.01) in leptin concentrations 3 to 4 h later in stallions fed or infused with insulin and glucose. When stallions were not fed, leptin concentrations remained low. These results demonstrate that feeding time, and more specifically the insulin increase associated with a meal, not cortisol rhythm, drives the postprandial increase in plasma leptin concentrations in horses.

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